LabTV Pairs Arts with Science at University of Chicago to Attract Talent to Research Careers

University encourages student participation in video profiles which generate interest in medical research.

STAMFORD, CT, June 25, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- LabTV announced that the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois has agreed to work with filmmakers to create short, human-interest videos of young working medical researchers at labs on the university's campus.

Increased demand for bright medical researchers prompted LabTV's online video platform that showcases the personal inspirations of medical scientists who joined the field. Creating connections with today's students and the professionals in research that rarely get the chance to speak about the reasons they chose their careers, fills the gap between students and excitement for medical research. Using student filmmakers inspires curiosity from the perspective of young medical researchers while adding the unique quality of the student.

"Our goal," said LabTV founder Jay Walker, "is to help high school and college students find role models they can identify with - young scientists who are people just like themselves, and who share their dreams and passions."

John Easton, Senior Science Writer for the University of Chicago Medicine agrees with the mission of LabTV stating, "Many people outside of the academic setting can be awed, intimidated or baffled by the research process. They may even be confused by what the scientists discover. These video projects have been an entertaining way to dig deeper, to focus on the people involved, and to reveal the motives -- often quite inspirational -- of the people performing it."

Two undergraduates of Chicago University won awards in the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in which $16,000 was given to student filmmakers. Winning a Gold Medal Award was Yoonji Kim, a second year biology pre-medical student. She profiled Jason Torres, who studies the genetics of Mexican Americans with type-2 diabetes. Dove Barbanel, a fourth-year political science major, with a minor in creative writing, won a Semi-Finalist award for profiling Vanessa Leone, PhD, a post-doctoral scholar studying the interactions between the gut microbiota, metabolism and obesity in the laboratory.

LabTV was happy to partner with a school that has widespread acclaim in the research field. Chicago University's Biological Sciences Division was ranked 14th in the country this year while the Pritzker School of Medicine was ranked 11th in the state of Illinois. The cancer researchers at the school were chosen as one of 5 universities to share a $540 million dollar research gift from Ludwig Cancer Research. The partnership with LabTV will continue to create opportunities which draw young students to its programs, encouraging student filmmakers and emerging leaders in research.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), has repeatedly stated that America needs visible role models in medical research who can encourage more of our best and brightest young people - especially women and minorities - to join this crucial profession.

Dr. Collins stated at the Tribeca Film Festival for Disruptive Innovation,"And so this LabTV innovation ... makes it possible for those who are curious to actually be able to take a virtual tour, in the mind, in the environment, of a bright young scientist who is on the trail of something exciting. Students can make connections with role models and figure out how to talk to them about their own interests, concerns, passions, and dreams. Over 75 institutions have now signed up to take part in this; those being among those with the greatest degree of NIH funding. "

The NIH is encouraging America's labs to open their doors to LabTV so that both professional and student filmmakers can create the videos that will celebrate young scientists and excite today's students.

"Medical research is the greatest science adventure of our time, but almost nobody knows about it," said LabTV Executive Producer David Hoffman. "On LabTV our short videos are about people, not about science. The medical scientists we profile are passionate young men and women from every background, every nation and every ethnic group. They find medical research incredibly exciting and rewarding. They are eager to encourage today's students to enter the field."

To that end, 40,000 NIH-funded medical research labs across America are opening their doors to student and professional filmmakers, creating short video profiles of tens of thousands of young scientists.

Universities that wish to have their young scientists profiled on LabTV at no cost to the university or the lab may contact LabTV's Debbie Pranckitas by email at

David Hoffman is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker of more than 150 television documentaries and multi-part series for PBS, Turner, A&E and Discovery. Mr. Hoffman has produced more than 200 television programs, five feature-length documentaries, and hundreds of Youtube "movies" that together have over 10 million views.

Jay Walker, the founder of LabTV, is also the chairman of Patent Properties and curator of TEDMED, the health and medicine edition of the famous TED conference. A noted entrepreneur, Mr. Walker has founded three companies that serve more than 50 million customers. He is best known as the creator of Priceline, which brought a new level of value to the travel industry.

LabTV, in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health, inspires STEM-oriented students, particularly women and minorities, to consider a career in medical research. LabTV does this by having filmmakers, primarily undergraduates, interview young medical scientists, and post their interviews on where viewing students can find and connect with successful young medical scientists just like them.

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